Ian Williams – The Dream Extortionists

Rating: 4/5
Distributor/Label URL: Slaughterback
Released: 29th March 2019
Buy Album: https://ianwilliams.bandcamp.com/
Band Website: ianwilliams.bandcamp.com

ian williams

Band Line-up:

Ian Williams

Track Listing:
  1. She Thought She Was Alone
  2. Slow Poison
  3. Last Train To Eternity
  4. It Was No Accident
  5. They Could Find No Cure
  6. And We Shall Never Know
  7. Triste Voyage
  8. ¡Viva La Revolución!
  9. His Future Was His Past
  10. Four Lousy Degrees And We’re All Going To Hell

Originally the founder of Beautiful Pea Green Boat, Ian Williams started out in the 1980s. Since then he has worked with Claudia Barton as Gamine, releasing two darker albums of generally piano-led songs. This year he has released his latest musical conquest, The Dream Extortionists.

The album has already been described as being “a dark and disturbing trip through the decaying and decadent last days of human civilisation, in an overpopulated world where nothing works.”
She Thought She Was Alone has a fairly long piano intro with atmospheric string orchestration. The emotion in this track is clear, giving that true feeling of loneliness in the form of music. Broken chords in the piano and the little pauses made a huge impact. The sheer amount of detail taken into creating this is on par with that of a film score, something you might hear in one of the Disney remakes if they’re actually any good. There’s a real sense of characterisation throughout. It really is stunning to listen to.

Everything from the instrumentation to the way in which each note is struck seems to be done so with a very precise intention in mind. Slow Poison’s staggering chords feel like a slow drop in consciousness.

Last Train To Eternity has that very regal feel to it. The chorus in the background does feel like the fake voices used via logic, but I can still piece together what the aim was. The beginning of It Was No Accident reminded me of the ending to the episodes of Riverdale to be completely honest. There wasn’t anything overly magical but it was a lovely listen all the same. They Could Find No Cure was similar in that sense. And We Shall Never Know also has some weirdly false vocal sounds in it, creating a very odd feeling that puts you somewhat on edge when colliding with each minor chord.

From then on the tracks make slightly less of an impact on me, which was quite sad to feel. Each still set a scene however, they just didn’t grab me quite as much. With His Future Was His Past, things start to come back with a piano-led piece, featuring some electric guitar alongside it. The feeling into it starts to come back in the eeriness of it all. Ian Williams seems to be best at utilising space and silence, knowing that sometimes the sound or chord doesn’t have to be all that sets the tone of the piece.

The concluding piece, Four Lousy Degrees And We’re All Going To Hell, again is piano-led. A slow and somewhat low feeling piece emotionally. A real sense of emotion sets in around halfway through with the higher pitches and pace in the playing of chords. The progression starts to really set in, feeling like it will have a real sense conclusion and does so with a soft yet creepy end. Perfect.

Review By:

Megan Duce